Brookfield reports progress on 280-MW California hydro project

BPUS Generation Development LLC, a subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable Energy Group, told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 15 that it is making progress on the Mulqueeney Ranch Pumped Storage hydro project in California.

In January 2011, FERC issued a preliminary permit to BPUS Generation Development for the Mulqueeney Ranch project. It would be located on the property known as Mulqueeney Ranch near the City of Tracy in Alameda County, Calif. Article 4 of the preliminary permit requires Brookfield to file a progress report at the close of each six-month period from the effective date of the 36-month permit. A preliminary permit allows exclusive time for a party to look at the merits of a project, with a license application needed at FERC if the decision is to go through with the project.

In the July 15 version of that report, Brookfield said it has actively taken efforts on following items:

  • A debriefing session with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) about the project to follow up the submitted the PG&E Energy Storage Request for Information (RFI), being part of effort to market the proposed pumped storage station in WECC market;
  • Continuation of the discussion with the current conflicting use easement holder for transferring the land easement exclusively to Brookfield; and
  • Investigation of transmission interconnection and congestion in PG&E’s Tesla Substation to which the project would potentially be connected.

“Brookfield will further the investigation of transmission interconnection, continue to market the project through discussions with potential energy buyers, and analyze financial benefits of the project,” the company added. “Brookfield will also continue the investigation of environmental impact of the project over the next six months.”

The project would consist of:

  • a proposed upper impoundment having a surface area of about 52 acres and a normal water surface elevation of 1,640 feet mean sea level;
  • a proposed lower impoundment having a surface area of about 75 acres and a normal surface elevation of 580 feet mean sea level;
  • a waterway connecting the upper impoundment to the lower impoundment;
  • a powerhouse containing two generating units with a total installed capacity of 280 MW; and
  • a one-mile-long, 230- or 500-kV transmission line.

The project would have an estimated annual generation of about 368 gigawatt-hours.

A fact sheet on the Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP website said that Brookfield currently operates four wind projects in Tehachapi, Calif., delivering 274 MW of clean power. Brookfield acquired an operating interest in the Malacha Hydropower Station in December 2010. The 30-MW Malacha station is located on the Pit River near Fall River Mills in Lassen County, Calif. And, Brookfield said it has been granted a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of constructing a pumped storage hydro generating facility on Mulqueeney Ranch in Alameda County.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.